Feb 15, 2022 - World

New center focuses on China and Russia in the Middle East

Photo Illustration of Michael Doran with a map of the Middle East, and Russian and Chinese flags.

Michael Doran, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East. Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Michael Doran

China is selling military equipment to countries across the Middle East, and both Beijing and Moscow are partnering with Iran in ways that undermine U.S. interests in the region.

Why it matters: "The competition with China is global," said Michael Doran, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. "So our response has to be global.."

Driving the news: Last month, the Hudson Institute launched the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East, which approaches Middle East security issues through the lens of great power competition with China and Russia in the region.

  • Doran serves as director.
  • The center will bring together experts from across the Middle East and former U.S. government officials, including Miles Yu, who served as an adviser to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Details: The siloing of regional studies doesn't fit a globalized world with multiple centers of power, Doran said.

  • A U.S. focus on China shouldn't just mean a U.S. focus on Asia since Beijing is becoming a larger player in regions across the globe.
  • "What's happening in the China-Russia-Iran triangle is a key question. There isn't an academic department for that. So we want to have a center for this," Doran said.
  • "In the real world, a lot of the most exciting questions are in between the disciplines."

On China's role in the Ukraine crisis: The close relationship between Moscow and Beijing means that Putin doesn't have to worry about what Xi might do when he isn't looking, Doran said.

  • "Putin's buildup around Ukraine includes taking all of his best units from Asia and bringing them to Europe. And he can do that because he doesn't have to fear an attack on his eastern border."
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